A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tunisia's Presidential Election: Essebsi, Marzouki into Runoff

Early indications suggest that the results of yesterday's Tunisian Presidential election will see Beji Caid Essebsi of Nidaa Tounes and Moncef Marzouki will face each other in a runoff next month.

There were 27 candidates on the ballot (though five of these had withdrawn after the ballots were printed). Essebsi's Nidaa Tounes Party won the largest number of seats in last month's Parliamentary elections; Marzouki is the outgoing incumbent President of the transitional period.

Ennahda, the Islamist Party that won the first round of elections after the revolution and ran second last month, did not field a Presidential candidate. Marzouki is likely to try to win Ennahda votes in the runoff; he is likely to pursue the argument he used in his campaign, that one party should not dominate both the Prime Ministry and Parliament. He has also sought to portray the 87-year-old Essebsi as a symbol of the return of the ancien regime.

Leftist candidate Hamma Hammami ran third.

I should mention that the best campaign slogan, however, certainly  belonged to the only woman candidate in the campaign, judge Kalthoum Kannou:
Yes, She Went There


David Mack said...

Essebsi would show himself to be a statesman if he were to offer some key cabinet positions to En Nahda. By so doing, he would probably gain heavily in the run off. Maybe I am hoping for too much Tunisian moderation, but it would make En Nahda supporters partners in the hard decisions which the new cabinet will face.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

It also depends on what happens with the PM job: they need a coalition, and Ennahda would like a national unity government. Essebsi might make a gesture there, not just a promise, before the runoff.

I also wonder, though, if older voters may look at Essebsi's age of 87 and remember Bourguiba's final years in office, though Essebsi still seems perfectly lucid.